Website Management – How Do I Backup My Website

You know how to backup your business data, but how do you backup your new website?

Your business website is an important business asset, often the result of significant time and financial investment and an effective website backup policy is critical to business success.

We will look at:

  1. Why You Should Backup Your Website
  2. How to Backup Your Website
  3. When to Backup Your Website
  4. Where to Backup Your Website

Why you should backup your website.

All businesses know that they should backup their important data, such as financial data and IP. Yet many businesses do not think to include their website in this planning, or simply do not know how to backup a wordpress website.

CHECK: if your website crashed, was hacked or just “lost”, do you know how you replace it quickly?

Business websites are no longer a fancy online brochure or business card, but an important and effective way to attract customers and communicate with them. For many businesses, losing the website, even for a short period, could cripple the business and substantially devalue it.

Yet building, managing and backing up websites is easier today than it has ever been. With the growth of WordPress and also other proprietary platforms, anyone can build a website.

However, this connectivity also increases the possibility of things going wrong. Your website could be hacked, a software update could break the website (yes incompatibility happens all too often), or you could accidentally delete a critical file. Outcome: no working website.

In each of these situations, an effective website backup process could save your business and have your website back up and running in hours if not minutes. We are not talking about backing up your server, or hosting company backups, but specific backups of your website, in your control.

Ultimately, you want to be able to replicate your website quickly, on a completely new and independent hosting service in the event of a catastrophic failure of your current host.

Click Here Web Design has helped several clients who ‘lost’ their website when their former website design company simply disappeared, and so did their website. Without access to the design company servers, and no offline backups of the website, these businesses lost not only the website, but any data or analytics relating to their website. They effectively had to start again, and rebuild their websites at additional time and expense.

A good website backup protocol is a key business process.

How to backup your website.

When it comes to best practise for backup processes for websites, there are two simple rules that it is wise to follow.

  1. Backup your website on a regular basis.
  2. Do not store your website backups in the same location as the actual website. That is, do not store your only website backups on the hosting server.

Whilst most hosting companies offer a backup service, we find these can be tricky to set up and manage. Frequently, they backup the entire server, not just the website. Picking out just one website to restore becomes a much more complicated process.

Proprietary platforms (eg Wix) also offer a range of internal and external backup processes but ultimately, a website on these platforms cannot be restored on a different, independent hosting service in the event of a disaster. A website built on these platforms will only run on the proprietary platform.

This is why we recommend only building websites on WordPress which is hosting independent.

But of greater concern, these internal backups violate the most important rules of data backups. We are going to repeat it here because too many businesses ignore this key principle.

Never (ever) store your backups of any data in the same place as the original data.

So backing up your website to the same server that hosts it is not the smartest idea and will eventually fail – probably right when you need it.  Likewise leaving your office data backups on your desk wont help when the building catches fire, or floods. It is these rare but serious accidents that we want to protect our business from.

WordPress has a multitude of plugins including many excellent and automated website backup plugins.   This is another advantage of the open source WordPress platform.  Open competition ensures quality software at reasonable costs.  We recommend paying for Updraft Plus. Whilst the free version is excellent, the paid version gives you better options for offsite storage and rotations.

WHEN: Backup The Website Regularly

It is obviously important to backup your website regularly as it changes.

How frequently you should complete a full website backup will depend upon how often you are updating the website, including posting articles, images or other content. Don’t forget to include the frequency of user comments in your calculations. These can be valuable content and will potentially be lost between backups.

For some businesses, once a month website updates, with a new post or articles and then an offsite backup is sufficient. More active websites might require daily backups online, with weekly offline backups.

Rotate your website backups

Rotate Website BackupsIn addition to regular backups, you must rotate your backups. In the days of tape or drive backups these simply meant changing the drive or tape each backup. Today, online, we usually just save the next backup as a new file.

Whilst it would be nice in theory to keep every backup ever made of your website, the reality is that storage is not unlimited and there is an inherent cost in endless backups. By keeping a rotating system of backups over several weeks or months (depending upon frequency of updates/changes) we can ensure that there is always a viable and current backup of the website whilst managing space and archives.

Regardless of how and when you backup your website, never overwrite the current backup with a new backup. If the backup process fails part way through you would lose not only the current website, but also your backup.

Overwriting backups can be done accidentally by using the same file name. Best practise usually appends the date and time of the backup to the file. This also helps to keep them in time-order. Most automatic website backup plugins will automatically do this for you, but it pays to check until you are familiar with the process.

How many backups should you keep? That depends upon many things, but mostly how paranoid you are. Unfortunately, unless you utilise a full backup and restore testing process onto a new system, you never quite know if a backup is good until you need it. Storing multiple backups of your website can minimize this risk.

WHERE: Offsite backups for your website

Backing up your website to the same server does not provide much protection. If the server or host is corrupted or damaged, then the chances are the backup will be too. The same applies to keeping office data backups in the office, yet many businesses do.

With the advent of cloud storage providers, an online backup to another server/service is a satisfactory option for most businesses.

CHECK: Do you have backups of the current website in a secure offline location? And do you know how to restore the website?

Whilst a competent web design and management company will always ensure proper backups are taken, it is ultimately the business owner who will suffer in the event of an ‘accident’.

Backup Your Website For Business Success

Your business website is a valuable asset and should be backed up securely. The goal is to ensure that you can replace your website quickly and efficiently in the event of a crash with your current host.

Saving regular and rotating backups of your website at several locations ensures maximum access to your valuable data.

The simplest and best way to backup any data is with an automatic system.  In WordPress website world this usually means a plugin.  There are many paid and free website backup plugins that will automatically backup your website on a predefined schedule.

Click Here Web Design always uses ‘offsite’ backups for our clients websites. Our automated software backs up each clients’ entire website to a separate server on a regular schedule.   We also periodically archive backups of websites completely offline – ie not in the cloud, or internet at all.

Contact Us for Website Management including Website Backups

How do you backup your website?   We’d love to hear from you with any questions or comments on backing up your website.

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